Du Bois, David Graham 1925–

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David Graham Du Bois 1925

Author, journalist, editor, and professor

At a Glance

Selected writings


David Graham gained an extremely famous last name when his mother married W.E.B. Du Bois; he also gained all the benefits and expectations of being a celebritys stepson. David Du Bois has taken to the challenge admirably, furthering his stepfathers work on the pan-Africanist movement and adding significant scholarship of his own. He has undertaken several politically motivated projects, including acting as a consultant to the government of Ghana and editor of the Encyclopaedia Africana. He has also reported and written about Cairo, Egypt, which he considers as a second home. However, Du Bois was primarily a teacher of journalism and African-American studies before he retired from that profession in 2001. He taught history from the African-American perspective, and worked so that the inequalities created by a history written by white people would not be perpetuated.

Born David Graham in September of 1925, in Seattle, Washington, Graham took the last name Du Bois shortly after his mothers marriage to civil rights activist and scholar W. E. B. Du Bois in 1951. During his childhood he lived with his maternal grandparents, Reverend David A. and Etta Bell Graham, in Indiana and attended an African Methodist Episcopal church. He took classes at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and Columbia University, but put off his college education as he joined the U.S. Army Air Forces, Infantry during World War II, serving as second lieutenant until 1946. After the war, Du Bois received a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from the City University of New York in 1950.

Du Bois worked as a clerk for First National City Bank in New York City from 1950 to 1959. He then moved to Cairo, Egypt, in 1960 to work as an editor and reporter for the Arab Observer, Egyptian Gazette, Middle East News and Features Agency, and Radio Cairo while lecturing at Cairo University in American literature. He was a public relations consultant for the government of the African nation of Ghana from 1963 to 1966, a position he received after his stepfather moved there in 1961, became a citizen of the country, and where he died in 1963. The elder Du Bois had been invited by the Ghanaian government to edit the Encyclopaedia Africana, a project that the younger Du Bois would pick up later in his life.

At a Glance

Born David Graham in September of 1925, in Seattle, WA. Education: Attended Oberlin Conservatory of Music, 1942-43, and New York School of Social Work, Columbia University; Hunter College (now the City University of New York), BA, sociology, 1950; New York University, MA, Western Hemisphere history, 1972; Peking University, Chinese language studies, 1972-73. Military Service: U.S. Army Air Forces, infantry, 1943-46; second lieutenant. Politics: Independent.

Career: Arab Observer, Cairo, Egypt, editor and reporter, 1960-72; Cairo University, lecturer; Egyptian Gazette, news editor; Middle East News and Features Agency, editor and reporter; Radio Cairo, announcer and program writer; Ghana government, public relations consultant, 1963-66; Black Panther Party, spokesperson; The Black Panther, editor-in-chief, 1973-75; University of California, School of Criminology and Department of African-American Studies, lecturer, 1973-77; Pacific News Service, associate editor; University of Massachusetts, Amherst College, visiting professor in journalism and African-American studies, c. 1980-2001.

Memberships: W.E.B. Du Bois Foundation, Inc. (founding president); W.E.B. Du Bois Memorial Centre for Pan African Culture, Accra, Ghana {board member); New Africa International Network, Harare, Zimbabwe (board of governors); Du Bois-China Study Center, Beijing, China (council member).

Addresses: Home P.O. Box 144 Amherst, MA, 01004; 76 Nile St, Apt 24, Cairo, Egypt, 12612.

Du Bois returned to the United States to earn a masters degree in history at New York University in 1972, and then traveled to Beijing, China, enrolling in a course of Chinese language studies at Peking University. His mother lived in Cairo, Egypt, from 1967 to 1976, and died in Beijing, China in 1977. Du Bois returned again to the United States in 1973 to teach African-American studies at the University of Californias School of Criminology, and became editor-in-chief of The Black Panther. During this time, he also published a book And Bid Him Sing, which focuses on the lives of African-American expatriates during the 1960s. In 1975 reviewer L. W. Griffin wrote in Library Journal: In spite of occasional amateurishness, Du Boiss book is sensitively written, interesting because of its exotic setting, and valuable as a sociological document.

Du Bois traveled to China when his mother passed away, but returned to the United States in order to teach journalism and African-American studies at the University of Massachusetts until 2001. Although Du Bois had a teaching position at the University of Massachusetts, he continued to visit Cairo, Egypt, making it his second home. He also became a naturalized citizen of Ghana, and is a board member of the Du Bois Memorial Centre for Pan-African Culture in Accra, Ghana, that includes a collection of his stepfathers works.

Du Bois has remained active in his quest to continue work on the Encyclopaedia Africana. As of 2004, the first three volumes of the proposed twenty-volume project had been completed. In accordance with the dream of W. E. B. Du Bois, the collection is primarily the work of African scholars, and it offers unprecedented information on major figures in African history. Though the project is based in Accra, Ghana, Du Bois has been instrumental in securing cooperation and financial assistance for the project from the United States. (The project should not be confused with Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience, edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Kwame Anthony Appiah.)

Selected writings


And Bid Him Sing, Ramparts Press, 1975.

(Editor), Encyclopedia Africana, in process.



Fairbanks, Carol, and Eugene A. Engeldinger, Black American Fiction: A Bibliography, Scarecrow Press, 1978, p. 85.

Henderson, Ashyia N., and Jennifer M. York, eds., Whos Who Among African Americans, Gale, 2002, p. 361.

Metzger, Linda, ed., Black Writers: A Selection of Sketches from Contemporary Authors, Gale, 1989, p. 156.

Page, James A., Selected Black American Authors: An Illustrated Bio-Bibliography, G.K. Hall, 1977, pp. 68-69.

Valade, Roger M., III, The Schomberg Center Guide to Black Literature, Gale Research, 1996, p. 139.


Black Scholar, July-August, 1975, pp. 52-53.

Library Journal, May 15, 1975, p. 1008.

New York Times Book Review, June 29, 1975, p. 28.

Prince Georges Post (Upper Marlboro, Maryland), July 1997.


David Graham Du Bois, Biography Resource Center, www.galenet.com/servlet/BioRC (April 12, 2004).

The Du Bois Memorial Centre for Pan-African Culture, Africa Online, www.africaonline.com/site/articles/1,10,1902.html (11 April, 2004).

Encyclopaedia Africana Project: Bio: David Du Bois, Encyclopedia Africana Project, www.encyclopediaafricana.com/legacy/scholars/bioduboisdavid.htm (24 March, 2004).

Interview with Dr. David G. Du Bois, Encyclopedia Africana Project, www.encyclopediaafricana.com/legacy/970712princegerogespost.htm (May 14, 2004).

UMass Professor David Du Bois Assists Egyptian Governments Translation of Classic Work by His Stepfather, W.E.B. Du Bois, University of Massachusetts Amherst, www.umass.edu/newsoffice/archive/2000/022400dubois.html (24 March, 2004).

Mary Le Rouge

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